The Squire's Challenge

Thou must do good works.
Ten hours of community service must be accomplished before thy knighthood shall be achieved.
Thou must find an elder to vouchsafe and sponsor thee, and to speak for they good name.
Thou must represent thy heritage with a family crest.

Thou must fashion a sword with which to be knighted.
Thou shall uphold a vow of silence on the eve of thine knighthood.

Thou shall compete in a tournament of medieval games and embark on a quest, requiring the eyes of an eagle, the cunning of a fox, and the courage of a lion.

These were the tasks for Liz over the past few weeks and she rose to the challenge admirably. She sorted clothing at a thrift shop, worked on files at the music center, participated in Green Up day, helped with a concert, and played her violin for the first grade play.

She made a sword and designed a shield with a crest that defined herself and she got up the courage to ask an adult in our community to be her sponsor.

After completing their tasks, Liz and her class were "knighted" in a beautiful ceremony. The whole idea behind the ceremony and ensuing games is to recognize that the 6th graders are becoming adolescents...that the adult world recognizes them, welcomes their contributions, and supports them in their challenges...and that they are now part of the middle school.

The ceremony involves beautiful music sung by the students and a King and Queen who solemnly ask the students to step forward one at a time and explain why they are there. The students' explanations were given in English, French, or German.

It is a solemn, quiet, beautiful ceremony that invites the students each to step out alone and speak up for himself, yet at the same time have a sponsor then stand up saying s/he will be of support--just what adolescents need to do and hear. Here are the new knights of the realm.

Here she is with her sponsor, lips pressed tightly together as her vow of silence had begun.
She was so happy and proud, yet couldn't speak which I like to think left her with some time for her own thoughts through the night and next morning.

What a wonderful right of passage for these children.
Gaudeamus Hodie we have an official middle schooler.

sarah  – (May 10, 2011 at 2:22 PM)  

Such a wonderful idea! I've said it many times before - you are really blessed to have your school.

Sarah  – (May 10, 2011 at 7:41 PM)  

That is an awesome idea! What a great way to celebrate that usually ignored transition in a childs life.
Love it!

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